Former Pinellas principal who instructed staff to group white students together arrested for child abuse

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A former Pinellas County principal who resigned over a racially insensitive e-mail is facing new controversy following an arrest over the weekend.

Christine Hoffman was replaced as the director of Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy in Clearwater after she was charged with child abuse after an incident at the school.

Hoffman is accused of grabbing a student by his neck and pulling his hair.

According to an affidavit, Hoffman was on a school bus Friday to try to calm down rowdy students. When she heard one student use a curse word, she snapped.

“It’s concerning she would be like that. It’s a sad thing, but at least they took care of the problem and solved it right away,” said Timothy Pleasant, a parent. “To me, she shouldn’t be around kids.”

Hoffman came under fire last year for sending a racially insensitive memo to teachers. “White students should be in the same class,” she said in the e-mail obtained by News Channel 8.

Once parents caught wind of the message, they protested the principal for days. Hoffman later apologized and announced her resignation in a statement.

In 2012, the former principal was investigated for dragging a Maximo Elementary School student by the leg and pulling his arms. At the time, officials found her actions to be appropriate.

“I wasn’t aware she already had other problems, but the fact she would act like again knowing she got the charges dropped, so why do it again,” Pleasant added.

Hoffman was placed on paid administrative leave as authorities continue to investigate the incident. Jayme Pecci was named the school’s interim director on Monday.

Cary Stiff, the CEO of Chi Chi Rodriguez refused our request to comment on the matter.

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